Salt Spring Island is the latest community in British Columbia to join a program that unites the RCMP, local businesses and other organizations in an effort to create a safe and welcoming place for people in the LGBTQ community.
BC Safe Place is an initiative that sees businesses commit to becoming a shelter for people who are at risk of being harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. A sticker indicates a place where they will be welcomed, where they can call police, and wait until officers arrive.
“The Salt Spring Island detachment is excited to be a part of this great initiative,” a press release issued last week states. “Too often members of the LGBTQ community feel there is no safe place for them if they are being threatened or harassed. By becoming a part of this program, the community of Salt Spring Island is committing themselves to be a more inclusive community, where everyone feels safe and respected.”
Salt Spring RCMP Const. Andrea Fitzpatrick learned about the program through E Division crime prevention services and received all the necessary resources, including online training videos, to implement the program locally.
“I just thought the program itself is a good fit for Salt Spring,” Fitzpatrick explained. “I think it’s a really inclusive community here, and it just adds that extra level of protection and safety.”
For more on this story, see the September 5, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.